Trichopoda Fly
(Common Name)
(General Category)
Diptera: Tachinidae
(Taxonomic Classification)
Trichopoda pennipes
(Scientific Name)

Trichopoda adult with rollover ID charactersTrichopoda eggs and larvae with rollover ID characters

Description: These flies parasitize several species of true bugs such as stink bugs and squash bugs. The adults lay oval-shaped globular eggs on adults or nymphs. When eggs hatch the larvae burrow into their host where they feed until they are ready to pupate. They then exit the host through the rear end, after which the host soon dies. While larvae are inside the host they suppress reproduction.

Identification:  Rollover pictures with mouse for tips on how to identify these parasitoids. Adults: These flies differ from other tachinids in that they don’t have bristly abdomens. They also have a distinctive orange abdomen and black wings. Like other flies, they only have 2 wings (as opposed to 4 in wasps and bees) (click here to compare). Like all flies, their hind wings are greatly reduced (named halteres), and are used to balance them in flight. They also have very small antennae, as opposed to the long, often “elbowed” antennae in wasps and bees (click here to compare). Their eyes are often larger than those of wasps and bees, and may look like they wrap around the head. Larvae: Because the grub-like larvae are internal parasites of stink bugs, they are not normally seen unless a host is dissected or a larva happens to finish development and emerge from a bug while being observed. However, the eggs can often be seen on the exoskeleton of the host.

Value in Pest Management:  These flies are common natural control agents of several native bugs, including southern and green stink bugs as well as squash bugs. and undoubtedly contribute to population regulation. Adults will feed on nectar-producing flowering plants, and have been considered in some conservation biological control studies. They are not sold commercially.

Origin and Distribution:  Introduced, throughout the United States ( ).

For More Information:  (LINKS)